Intel is bringing one of their worst years in terms of execution and product launches to an end.  While the year started off pretty strong with the Pentium III and its Coppermine core boasting a scalability advantage over the Athlon without any on-die L2 cache, things quickly took a turn for the worse for Intel. 

Processor shortages throughout the first half of the year led to increased prices and gave AMD the opportunity to gain some of the high ground with their Athlon.  Combined with solid motherboard support for the processor, the Athlon began to eat away at some of the pie that was previously reserved for the Pentium III. 

We really started to see signs that we weren’t dealing with the same Intel we had been used to when AMD managed to not only beat them to releasing a 1GHz processor but also to making those 1GHz processors widely available.  All of the sudden Intel was struggling to compete on a clock for clock basis, not necessarily in performance but in terms of actually achieving the clock speeds that AMD was pushing for.  We should all know by now that clock speed sells when it comes to the retail market.  Since most uninformed buyers don’t have a list of benchmarks to make a buying decision with they concentrate mainly on CPU clock speed to define whether something is “faster” or “slower” than another option. 

The latest shock came in the complete recall of the 1.13GHz Pentium III processors which was almost single handedly inspired by Dr. Thomas Pabst of Tom’s Hardware.  Intel was apparently trying to pull a fast one on the market by sacrificing stability for clock speed, a practice that had previously been completely unheard of from Intel.  Remember the days of complaining about AMD’s yields and praising Intel’s quality control?  How times have changed…

Now we’ve all given Intel a hard time because of their recent failures, but the real question to ask is how do they plan to recover?  AMD has been taking advantage of the position they have been put in, and Intel is finally waking up and realizing that they’re not competing with a “low-cost” competitor anymore.  Gone are the days when a Celeron processor can compete with AMD’s entire processor line. 

Let’s take a look at how Intel is positioning themselves to make a comeback and then we’ll analyze what their chances are at taking back some of the ground they’ve lost. 

None of the information contained in this article is provided by Intel and the following roadmap may not hold true.  Let’s just call it a set of “informed” guesses at what we think Intel will be doing in the next year.

The Celeron gets back on the bus
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